Our Place In History -- By: Julius Seelye
BSac 23:90 (April 1866) p. 211
Our Place In History1
The subject chosen for the present discussion is Our Place in History. In the great revelation which God is making of himself in human events, to what page and period have we come? In that wondrous drama which begins with Eden, and shall only end with the New Jerusalem, the tabernacle of God with men, what act and scene are now transpiring? A question like this has too much interest to be wisely neglected, but possesses too wide a scope to be adequately discussed in a single discourse. It is the aim of the present Article to direct attention only to some hints which history furnishes towards the true answer, and which, whether sufficient or not to reveal this with unmistakable clearness, may at least indicate the direction in which it shall subsequently be found.
In undertaking such a work, we are under somewhat the same necessity as the navigator, when obliged to determine his present position from the course and distance already sailed. In present times, no matter what they may be, yet, because they are present, everything seems shifting and changing, like the mists and clouds. We have no clear horizon. We lack the vision of the sun and stars—of those eternal truths and unchanging principles — by which our place might be determined. The past is clearer than the present. The clouds which now encompass us will be dispelled to the eye of coming time, and the sun, which now though not beheld doth yet enlighten us, will be then apparent, as the changing appearances to ages long gone by have disappeared to us, and the eternal realities which lay then concealed
BSac 23:90 (April 1866) p. 212
beneath them are now made known. There is no better way, therefore, of discovering where we now are in the great journey, than by taking account of where mankind has thus far been. Let us, therefore, go back to a point sufficiently early to enable us to mark the distance hitherto passed, and which shall cover a time sufficiently extended to determine the course in which we are now moving. If our way shall seem at first dusty, and the progress wearisome, each step points us towards a termination in which we may confidently rest.
In seeking for this, we begin where history begins,—in the region washed by the eastern waters of the Mediterranean, and extending north and east and south to the shores of the ancient Buxine, and beyond the Euphrates and the Tigris to the great plain which stretches between the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea. It is a region with marked adaptations to the people destined to inhabit it, fitted both to awaken and to fortify the peculiar elements with which they were to be endowed. Its grand features are thos...
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